If you have children or grandchildren who participate in sports or other performances, I saw a sign recently that might be enlightening. It said:

Your child’s success or lack of success in sports does not give an indication of what kind of parent you are. But having an athlete who is coachable, respectful, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient, and tries his very best is a direct reflection of your parenting.

I’ve booked a great deal of time in the bleachers in my day. I’ve seen deplorable behavior from adults as they practiced their “leadership” from the stands.

I’ve also seen some pretty deplorable behavior from kids on the field.

Being a parent who focuses on the right outcomes for the kids under their supervision is one of the greatest responsibilities.

As you consider your approach, try to imagine how others see you. If you think you tend to slip over the line and become someone who values results more than the character traits being learned, I would almost guarantee that you do. You’ve seen the heads shaking. You’ve been encouraged by others to lighten up.

So change your approach. Evaluate effort instead of results. Reinforce teamwork and the willingness to shake off mistakes. Notice special practice efforts and new skills achieved.

Those behaviors raise the joy of engaging in competition. It will be a legacy that you won’t regret.